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Deal in the desert for Colorado River conservation plan

Proposed plan will preserve 1.5 million acre-feet by 2024

YUMA, Arizona (KECY, KYMA) — Arizona, California and Nevada agreed Monday on a plan to conserve 3 million acre feet of water in the Colorado River by 2026.

The plan has been submitted to the Home Office for review.

The agreement between downstream states came after the federal government proposed plans to reduce water supplies either by preference or by equal cuts across the board.

The agreement has not yet been approved at the federal level, but local irrigation districts said the proposed plan is the preferred alternative to the federal proposal.

Tom Davis of the Yuma County Water Users Association said the deal will stabilize the near future of the multi-billion dollar agricultural industry as the plan avoids cutting water supplies to senior rights holders. rice field.

“I’m very confident about this. There will be no impact on the Yuma area’s agricultural water diversion,” Davis said.

The deal came after a historic winter snowfall.

Davis believes this year’s runoff will further raise the depleted water levels of Lake Powell and Lake Mead.

“If it wasn’t for this wonderful winter, this hydrology, we probably wouldn’t have this arrangement or contract,” Davis said.

But one year of snow doesn’t reverse 20 years of drought.

Imperial Irrigation District’s Tina Shields said the situation will need to be monitored closely until 2026, when a new agreement may be required.

“Inherently IID is part of the global solution because the Colorado River is our only source of water,” Shields said.

For now, she is reassured, farmers won’t have to cut back for years to come.

“Let’s look at these long-term issues and make sure our system is in a sustainable position through 2026,” Shields said.

“Our partners in California, Arizona and Nevada have developed a plan that provides better protection for the Colorado River system than other alternatives identified in the current SEIS draft released last month by the Landfill Service.” JB Hamby, Chairman of the Imperial Irrigation District, said.

Arizona Senator Mark Kelly said he was happy with the deal.

“This proposal is an encouraging step, made possible by the watershed negotiations and the resources the Department of the Interior has provided through the Control Inflation Act and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act to conserve water,” Kelly said. said Mr. We support this proposal and work with all partners in the Colorado River Basin to secure the future of water. ”

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